Middle East News: World Press Roundup

U.S. President Bush¹s remarks to the Israeli Knesset draw wide reaction (1, 3, 10). Ashraf Khalil reports on Palestinian rememberance of the Nakba (2). United Press International Editor at Large Arnaud de Borchgrave discusses Iranian strategy in the Middle East (4). Diplomatic moves continue between Israel and Hamas (6-7) and another rocket attack has occurred (8).

Palestinians Mark Day Of 'catastrophe'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Ashraf Khalil - May 16, 2008 - 7:15pm

Across Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Palestinians on Thursday mourned their exodus from the land with moments of silence, black clothing and displays of defiance. The demonstrations came a day after the 60th anniversary of Israel's declaration of statehood, an event that Palestinians refer to as the Nakba: the catastrophe. It led to a war between the new state and surrounding Arab nations -- and to lives as rootless refugees for generations of Palestinians.

Bush's Comments In Israel Fuel Anger
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Michael Abramowitz - May 16, 2008 - 7:17pm

On an emotional visit to mark Israel's 60th anniversary, President Bush on Thursday compared people seeking talks with Iran and radical Islamic groups to the Nazis' appeasers, provoking a political storm at home and accusations that he was politicizing the celebration. Bush's address to the Israeli parliament also stirred intense debate between Israelis and Palestinians. His strong words of empathy for Israel brought lawmakers in the tiny chamber to their feet.

Iran's Pawns Move
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
by Arnaud De Borchgrave - (Opinion) May 16, 2008 - 7:19pm

Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, with an assist from Sen. Joe Lieberman, competed in freshly minted assurances of allegiance to Israel as it embarked on a weeklong 60th birthday party. Neocons have hinted darkly that Obama, whose middle name is Hussein, was born a Muslim who later grew up as a Christian -- which, they say, makes him an apostate and puts him at risk of execution by an Islamist extremist. Proof of Obama's extraterritorial allegiance? A Hamas official who said, in an interview, "We like Mr.

In Israel, Bush Outlines A Blunt Vision For The Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - May 16, 2008 - 7:21pm

President Bush, at the height of his Wednesday-to-Friday visit here to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel, stood before the Knesset and laid out a vision for the Middle East 60 years down the road: an Israel that still stands tall, lives next to a Palestinian state, and is surrounded by countries where democracy and human rights reign. But his shorter-term vision, particularly in terms of his view of how things look today, sounded like a return to the stark rhetoric he became famous for in 2002 when he described Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as an axis of evil.

Israelis Are Talking To Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
by Marc Gopin - (Opinion) May 16, 2008 - 7:25pm

There are Israeli Jews who have been talking to Hamas for years, especially Rabbi Menahem Frohman. In fact, even more Israeli Jews – official and unofficial – would be talking not only to Hamas, but also to Syria and Iran were the White House not pressuring them against dialogue with enemies of Israel. This is unprecedented: a third party, supposedly mediating for peace, that forbids two parties from talking to each other.

Hamas To Send Delegation To Egypt For Gaza Truce Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
May 16, 2008 - 7:27pm

The Palestinian Hamas movement will send a delegation to Egypt to discuss a proposed truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip where the Islamists seized power nearly a year ago, a spokesman said on Friday. "Hamas will send a delegation to Egypt on Monday to discuss a period of calm in Gaza," Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha told journalists, adding that the delegation would discuss conditions set by Israel.

Rocket Damages Synagogue In Israel: Army
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
May 16, 2008 - 7:30pm

A rocket fired by Gaza militants damaged a synagogue and another hit a kindergarten in the southern Israeli city of Sderot overnight, a military spokeswoman said on Friday. There were no casualties in the attacks, the spokeswoman said. "In all, 11 rockets, including a long-range one, and nine mortar rounds were fired towards Israel on Thursday and during the night," she said. Troops fired at a group of Palestinians in Gaza who had just fired a mortar round on Friday morning, she said, adding that several of the militants were hit.

ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al- Ahram
by Dina Ezzat - May 16, 2008 - 7:31pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is expected to visit Egypt for talks with President Hosni Mubarak early next month, Egyptian sources say, in confirmation of an Israeli account. The visit, they added, should cover recent developments on the ground in the Gaza Strip, and Egypt's immediate and troubled backyard, including Egypt's efforts to strike a full truce between Israel and Hamas.

Arabs Slam Bush's Warm Rhetoric Towards Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
May 16, 2008 - 7:33pm

  While it remains unclear if US President George W. Bush's visit will yield any political gains in the race to achieve an agreement of any sort between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, it has certainly been an

Settlement Stumbling Bloc
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Lara Friedman And Hagit Ofran - (Opinion) May 19, 2008 - 5:55pm

Last month, The Washington Post reported that the Bush administration had entered into a secret agreement with Israel to permit continued construction in areas of the West Bank popularly known as "settlement blocs." The story focused on the alleged agreement (the existence of which administration officials strongly deny), but missed the real point: Secret agreement or not, Israeli construction in and around "settlement blocs" has continued without pause throughout the tenure of President George W. Bush, and continues to this day, with only token opposition from the U.S.

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